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Kitchen Renovation Tales: Part 2

photo-33So things are moving along fairly quickly with our kitchen renovation. As you can see, the framing, electrical and drywall is mostly completed. You can also see the outline of the “pass” — a window into the kitchen that will be framed by a support beam on the left and a flush wall of appliances, cupboards and counter space on the right. Through the window will be a counter top with, perhaps, a drinks fridge underneath.

As I wrote previously, the open floor plan of our former kitchen invited everyone to come and congregate between the range and the cook’s work area, turning every dinner party into a frottage fiasco. Like many open kitchen plans today, ours brought too much of the action into the cooking area.

With the renovation, we want to encourage onlookers to visit other parts of the house or stay on the sidelines. If you come into the heart of the kitchen, you are there to help, or at least stick your finger into the sauce.

So most folks will be entering this area of the house from the right side of the picture above. When they come in, they’ll see the dining room straight ahead and family room to the left. If they turn right, they’ll see into the kitchen, and if they walk around the wall, they’ll come to the edge of the kitchen island, where stools, beverages and easy access to the fridge await. Hopefully this semi-open arrangement will be inviting but not “let me put this beer down on the cutting board where you’re slicing meat” inviting.

In the meantime, we’re living out of our mini-fridge. I’m eating a lot of small mangoes (which I’ve taken to peeling like a banana) and crackers.

We’ve also started to (gulp) buy more prepared and frozen food. I’ve always been such a snob about this stuff, but I’ve got to say that Stouffer’s frozen lasagna has been a godsend for the bottomless pit that is my 12-year-old.

But I’m thinking a visit to Trader Joe’s may be our future. Maybe I’ll finally become a convert.

21 comments Add your comment

Fred

July 30th, 2010
1:29 pm

I imagine John, that when people come to your house to eat, they are as interested in how you are cooking as they are in WHAT you are cooking. I know I’d be hanging out in the kitchen watching and asking questions………. even helping lol if I wouldn’t screw it up.

[...] here to read the rest:  Kitchen Renovation Tales: Part 2 | Food and More with John Kessler By admin | category: kitchen | tags: business, career-times, cookie-jars, disneystore, [...]

Jim E. Hargrove

July 30th, 2010
3:44 pm

Johnny, it is wonderful to note you have incooperated polarity through feng Shui as a vital part of your kitchen design. Proper flow within a living structure is so important to family and guest as well. This sort of combining practicality and spiritual aspects of flow and movement will serve to enhance both love and enjoyment of the family home. I do hope you will allow us to view the finished product once the wonderful renovation is completed.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Erickson, Mike Doter. Mike Doter said: Kitchen Renovation Tales Part 2 | Food and More with John Kessler: Drywall and electrical up, frozen lasagna in th… http://bit.ly/d3Y7hm [...]

Anne

July 30th, 2010
4:05 pm

John, When we did our kitchen, we grilled, microwaved, used the slow cooker, occasionally purchased rotisserie chicken. Tried to do very little take out. Good luck on your renovation.

Kar

July 30th, 2010
4:16 pm

If you can boil water, I would also suggest trying the indian meals in the foil pouches. They can be opened and microwaved too but they’re an easy vegetarian/vegan fast meal. Throw in one of those boil in a bag rice pouches and you’ve got a non-swanson/tyson/lean cuisine alternative.

Best of all, they’re shelf stable so they don’t need to be refrigerated! Perfect for a last minute meal.

Vicki

July 30th, 2010
4:19 pm

You know what’s good at Trader Joe’s? The frozen cooked brown rice. They cook it before it starts to go off and smell funny in the bag or plastic container in your pantry….plus, it’s already cooked for you instead of taking an age. I wonder what goes bad so quickly with dry rice in a bag…..

Sandra

July 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

Before our oven died a year ago, we bought a table top halogen oven. It was suppose to be for occasional emergencies but it has worked great for us. The outside of it can get really hot and it is not fun trying to find somewhere to put down the scalding hot heavy glass lid but we use it all the time for baked potatoes (it makes lovely baked potatoes), roasts and pizza (only can do one at a time in ours). We did a lot of research before we picked the one that we have and it has been a life saver.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brenda Clayson, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Kitchen Renovation Tales: Part 2 http://bit.ly/9sP4oi [...]

[...] Kitchen Renovation Tales: Part 2Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)With the renovation, we want to encourage onlookers to visit other parts of the house or stay on the sidelines. If you come into the heart of the kitchen, … [...]

Fred

July 30th, 2010
11:51 pm

I reckon none of us said anything important enough for John to respond to. That seems to happens a lot on this blog…………….

one would think that Bookman can stay involved for up to 1000 posts. John doesn’t see the need. That’s why John, you write bogs and a month’s worth of blog get few responses. I blog is a little different than a column. you actually have to interact with the great unwashed……..

Fred

July 30th, 2010
11:52 pm

Wow, serious typos up above…….. The Song Remains the Same though……………

Foodgeek

August 1st, 2010
7:23 am

“Frottage Fiasco” sounds pretty inviting, actually. Not sure what the renovation is for. . .

John Kessler

August 1st, 2010
9:34 am

Sorry for not getting back sooner, Fred. I had a couple of deadlines yesterday and never made it back to the blog after I posted. Thanks for the nice comments.
Jim – I’m going to try and do a weekly progress report if it doesn’t start sounding too self-indulgent. I’m interested in this whole “no kitchen” scenario and how it affects the family.
Vicki — Looked for the brown rice, but all they had was jasmine. Loaded up on frozen dinners and tried one that was like eating a box of watery disappointment. My youngest kid likes them, though.

Art

August 1st, 2010
10:34 am

Fred, I agree with your comments. John is more hands off than most. Then again, he posts more than most as well so no one topic gets a lot of discussion time. Another lasagna suggestion for you JK…. Costco… the Kirkland brand is really good and very reasonably priced. It’s much better than Stouffers.

Andrea

August 1st, 2010
12:47 pm

John: Did you design the kitchen yourself? It sounds like you had some clear ideas of how you wanted the space to function but I would be curious to know how you came up with the space plan. We are moving to Virginia in a couple of weeks and will need to reconfigure the kitchen next year. Cannot wait to see the finished project!

John Kessler

August 2nd, 2010
12:55 pm

Andrea – It’s been a long, long process. Something about the size of the space and the disposition of windows and doors (and sunlight) has made it a hard nut to crack. We did hire an architect about three years ago and bought some plans that didn’t work for us. They were kind of cool — he really thought about flow and movement throughout the house– but the kitchen basically ate up the whole back of the space. That’s what gave us the idea to sequester the kitchen a little more. So we ended up working with a friend who’s an architect, and she came up with a schema we really loved. Then, a friend who’s a home designer, talked to us about flow and energy, which made a lot of sense. So, in ohter words, we’re flying by the seat of our pants for some of it.

Andrea

August 2nd, 2010
1:48 pm

Thanks for the insight. We are looking at a similar situation with doors and windows but we’ll live in the house for a year to see what really works and what does not before we make any major changes. How long do you expect to be displaced?

Mark

August 2nd, 2010
5:30 pm

Love that you’re letting us live vicariously. I’m in withdrawal after a 6 month, way over the top kitchen renovation–no more agonizing over which dishwasher to get–and will enjoy seeing how yours does.

Two comments:
we relied heavily on an induction hot plate. Bought used on Ebay for well under $200, and it cooks great. Allowed us to stir fry, steam, sear, etc even when it was too cold/rainy etc to use the grill.

And, as much as we love the whole kitchen, my favorite single item is the kick-ass ventilation system (SS hood and remote 1260 cfm blower mounted in attic). Nothing better than preheating a pan for 5 minutes over max heat and dumping in some salmon or steak to sear and have not a wisp of smoke emerge into the kitchen. May be too late but that would be the one piece of advice I’d pass on from our experience. .

donna murphy

August 2nd, 2010
7:14 pm

This is to Mark….what kick-a## cooktop or range did you get to go with your ventilation system? We are renovating now as well, i check garden web obsessively and chowhound. Just curious. Hope John doesn’t mind that I piggy back a question on his blog..

Mark

August 2nd, 2010
9:58 pm

agree, sorry for hijack. Lacanche Cluny 1400.